Cleveland Browns Naming Brian Hoyer Starting Quarterback Really Not a Surprise

Updated: September 18, 2013

After suffering a thumb injury in Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, many expected starting quarterback Brandon Weeden to miss a week or two. What they did not expect is that head coach Rob Chudzinski would name third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer the starter over free agent acquisition Jason Campbell for Sunday’s road contest against the Minnesota Vikings.

Watching this franchise since their return in 1999, fans in the city of Cleveland should have learned by now to expect the unexpected when it comes to their beloved Cleveland Browns. However, this move shouldn’t really surprise those in the media and the long-time fans of the team—especially with Michael Lombardi, a long-time supporter of Hoyer, sitting in the front office.

The Browns went out of their way to sign Hoyer this offseason, despite already having two quarterbacks with many more starts under their belt on the roster. Lombardi had been quoted previously saying he thinks Hoyer could be a starting quarterback in the NFL, despite going undrafted out of Michigan State in 2009 and being cut by New England, Pittsburgh and Arizona during his first four years of his career. When the guy in charge of player personnel decisions for a franchise is in your corner, you will eventually get the chance to start if things go wrong at the team’s quarterback position.

Hoyer—a product of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland—certainly does not have a lot of NFL experience. From 2009-2011, Hoyer spent his time as one of the backups for Tom Brady in New England. During that time, Hoyer played in 13 games (none started) and completed 27-of-43 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also tacked on one rushing touchdown during his three seasons with the Patriots.

After being cut by the Patriots and Steelers, Hoyer found himself in Arizona and started one of his two games for the Cardinals against the vaunted defense of the San Francisco 49ers. In a losing effort, Hoyer completed 19-of-34 passes for 225 yards and finished the day with one interception and one touchdown pass. The previous week against Chicago, he completed 11-of-19 passes for 105 yards and an interception in relief of Ryan Lindley.

To say the 6’2” and 215-pound passer’s career in the NFL has been underwhelming is an understatement to say the least. And his collegiate stats do not exactly lend any additional confidence, as he completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 6,159 yards, 35 touchdowns and 23 interceptions during his four years at Michigan State—two years as the starting quarterback.

Even with a lackluster collegiate and NFL career backing him, Hoyer earned the starting job for Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings and their tough defensive front. Maybe it is because he is the unknown and could come out and shock the Vikings defense, or maybe it is just an opportunity to see if Lombardi was right about him.

Regardless the Browns reason for starting Hoyer, it certainly gives fans something more to watch for this coming Sunday. And who knows, maybe this will finally be the week the offense commits to the run game–one now without Trent Richardson as he was just traded to the Colts for a first-round pick.

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